It wasn’t pretty early on at all as the Michigan Wolverines put in their upset bid against the Maryland Terrapins. The Terrapins were able to steady themselves before running past the Wolverines late. Leading the way was Taylor Mikesell with 17 points and five assists, fellow freshman Shakira Austin put up a monster line. She had 13 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks and one steal. Michigan was led by center Hallie Thome, she recored a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Amy Dilk added 12 points and six assists for the Wolverines as well. The win moves Maryland to 15-1 overall, 4-1 in Conference play.
Watson and Mikesell hit back to back three pointers with with 6:49 left in the game to give Maryland an eight point lead. Frese had her team switch to a zone to start the fourth and midway through, it really started to impact Michigan. The Terps outscored the Wolverines 30-17 in the fourth quarter. They held Michigan to 40% shooting while shooting a blistering 77% from the floor. Watson did most of her damage to close this game out, scoring 12 of her 14 points in the period to help her team close the door on Michigan.
Hallie Thome and Michgan got off to a great start, by giving Maryland a dose of their own medicine. They used quarter court pressure and half court traps to speed up Maryland, forcing them to turn the ball over 10 times in just the first quarter. Thome had eight points in the period, all by establishing great position and taking advantage of the matchups.
Sara Vujacic may not get the credit, but her insertion into the lineup really changed things for Maryland. She was just solid, that was more than enough for a Terps team that was reeling after a tough first quarter. She scored eight pointsin a quarter where Maryland started to look more like themselves. Mikesell and Jones also started to get on track, but Michigan didn’t give up too much ground. Trailing Maryland by just one at the half.
Michigan once again created some separation early in the third quarter. This is where their offensive rebounding really hurt Maryland, Thome got going again and Michigan was able to take a six point lead at one point. One of the reasons the Terps were able to stay around was the play of their freshmen. Mikesell scored seven points in the period while Austin had five points and seven rebounds. Taylor’s floater off a baseline drive with 35 seconds left gave her team a one point lead. That would hold until the start of the fourth quarter.
Freshmen. Austin was amazing from start to finish, she showed a glimpse of what she can become down the line. She impacted the game on both ends, her defense is a bit ahead of her offense. But she started to show the ability to face up and beat her defender several times during the second half. What stood out was her describing how she baits players to coming into the lane before swatting their shots away. Mikesell had 17 points, but her shots seemed to always be the ones that turned the tide more often than not. The floater in the third quarter to give Maryland the lead and two of her three triples felt like body blows to the Wolverines.
Juniors. The trio of Kaila Charles, Stephanie Jones, and Blair Watson didn’t have their best of games. However, they each had stretches in where they took control of the game. Charles helped re-set the tone defensively in the third and constantly put pressure to the Michigan defense. Jones started slow, but her work on the glass in terms of boxing out was priceless. She also made plays on the offensive end, Watson got hot late to help close things out.
X-Factors. Sara Vujacic was huge in the second quarter, she did nearly all her damage in that period. Frese cited her toughness as to why she was inserted into the game at a time when Maryland seemed to be reeling. Sara provided calm on both ends and her ability to hit the three didn’t hurt either. Channise Lewis came off the bench to play a very pivotal role, after turning the ball over as a team 10 times in the first quarter, the Terps turned it over just five times over the remaining three quarters. Lewis and Mikesell spent much of the second half on the court together to break the Wolverines press. Lewis had 11 assists and just one turnover, she brought balance to the floor and helped set the offense up. This win doesn’t happen without both of these players contributions.